Anna Serio

Editor, Personal Lending at Finder
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I write and edit articles about loans for Finder, with a specialization in business and personal loans. My commentary on the lending market has appeared in digital publications including CNBC and Business Insider. I've also made appearances as a commentator on live TV segments and as a guest on podcasts. Previously, I worked as a copy editor for The Daily Star, Lebanon and a few nonprofits. I also have some background in SEO, independent publishing and foreign language education.

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  • If you have federal loans, pick a repayment plan that fits your budget now to avoid missing repayments — you can change it in future. But be careful about signing up for income-driven repayments (IDR). If you switch out of IDR, the government adds any interest that your repayments didn’t cover to your loan balance, which makes your loans more expensive. Try to avoid it unless you’re in a low-paying field or plan on applying for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which requires IDR.

  • The coronavirus outbreak has had an unprecedented impact on small businesses — and on business lending. Nonbank lenders, which are often based online, might be a more attractive option than they were a few months ago. They typically offer quick online applications, can process loans faster than your typical bank and they tend to have more flexible requirements. But they tend to cost more, which might be a dealbreaker for small businesses that are already struggling with a loss of revenue. Many nonbank lenders recognize this and are now connecting business owners with SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans — most aren’t yet authorized to fund the loans themselves. Some still offer their regular loan products while others have shifted their focus entirely to the government-backed program.

  • The coronavirus outbreak has completely changed the small business marketplace. The majority of businesses are concerned about meeting basic expenses like rent and businesses don’t have enough certainty about their future to confidently apply for a loan. Business owners are calling for loan alternatives like cash grants to individuals to help keep payroll costs down — but these aren’t widely available. The most popular type of funding during the coronavirus outbreak have been SBA loans. That is, before its special coronavirus programs ran out of funds. These were the most widely available options that offered something close to a cash injection, since they came with options for forgiveness or a grant. Just over 93% of small businesses applied for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) alone, according to a Harvard Business School survey. The PPP ran out of funding just two weeks after its launch.

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